- Reviewed on Friday, September 6, 2013
- Grades Used: 6th
- Dates used: Summer 2012-Spring 2013
I have three children ages 8, 11 & 12.
For the first several years of math my boys (ages 11 & 12) used Abeka's Math curriculum and did EXTREMELY well. After we completed Abeka's Grade 5 Math, I started to get concerned that they were just turning into human calculators, as Abeka is a big drill and kill program. I really liked what they had learned and felt they had a solid foundation, but decided to introduce Life of Fred for the critical thinking aspect. So...the summer before they started 6th grade, I bought the Life of Fred fractions and decimals thinking it would be total review for them. The first 1/4 of the book was a bit of a struggle getting them going, as they were not used to seeing this kid of math, but after that, they whizzed through it not problem and we were all loving it. When fall came around, I ordered both the Pre-Algebra with biology and Pre-Algebra with Economics for the school year. They did fabulously. Then the older one, decided he wanted to move on to Algebra and began to struggle. We did as Professor Schmidt touted and my son contacted him with a question of two and might I say Professor Schmidt was almost rude, cynical and condescending. I was shocked! At one point, I myself tried to jump in the issue was clearly not getting any better. So... this year we decided to make another switch and I ordered Saxon 1/2 Algebra with their DVDs (a Godsend!!) . My boys are off to another great start. They love the teaching part of the DVD. They do think the math is a little too easy, but can review really hurt? Anyway...and here is the interesting part....My oldest has been begging to try this Mathnasium place (not because he needed help) because he would like to be fabulous at math. I kept putting it off and finally gave in yesterday. I took him for the assessment. Keep in mind he is in 7th grade this year. They gave him the level 9 test based on what I had told them. Too hard. Then gave him level 8 - also too hard. Finally, gave him a level 7 test and he scored poorly. Now, that may have been the "summer slide" thing going on, but I looked at the test afterward and most if not all of this he learned in 4th and 5th grade Abeka math. My point is...I think I did them a huge disservice by not sticking with an Abeka or Saxon style Math program. Please do not lose a year of Math like I did. If you like Life of Fred ONLY use it as a supplement. My youngest loves the Life of Fred and blew threw five books in one year. I can only say I take issue with Professor Schmidt. His claim about helping the children and working with them directly is completely false. Love Abeka (just did the workbook and speed drills) and Saxon (although we have not done Saxon without the DVD). I hope this helps all of you who are considering the Life of Fred series.
- Reviewed on Friday, January 25, 2013
- Grades Used: 3rd and up
- Dates used: 2008-present
We have thoroughly enjoyed Fred's adventures. His antics have made math fun (or at least less painful) for my kids.
My family has used Fractions, Dec & Percents, both Pre-Algebra books, Beginning Algebra (w/home companion), Advanced Algebra and Geometry. We just began the elementary series with a younger child.
My favorite books are the pre-algebra. I love how much information he weaves into these books (although some of the economics was above a younger student). In general, the pacing is good. Occasionally I think he jumps ahead a bit in some Your Turn to Plays. I believe he's trying to help the student make a leap on her own, but if she can't make it she may feel frustrated.
One time I tried Fred on its own with Beginning Algebra w/the Home Companion. My mathy son felt there wasn't enough practice. We've used Fred with other programs (Horizons, Teaching Textbooks, Art of Problem Solving and Zaccarro's books) quite successfully. I've used Fred as the spine with others to support his topics so the Fred story makes sense, but other presentations often help a student to master the concepts.
I highly recommend these books as a way to find applications to real life problems/situations, to help students remember the reasons we do what we do in math and to entertain.
- Reviewed on Wednesday, September 26, 2012
- Grades Used: 4th-6th
- Dates used: Aug 2012- present
I am new to home school this school year. One of the things I feared the most about taking on home school was teaching math. I found Life of Fred through this review website. I was completely intrigued with the idea of a story teaching math. Both of my boys love to read. My oldest son "gets" math easily; my younger son is a bit slower to grasp concepts. I showed the curriculum to other home school parents. I showed it to the boys' current teacher. EVERY person I talked to thought LOF would make a lovely supplement. No one trusted it as a stand alone. But I was really feeling that this curriculum could work well for us. I read and re-read every bit of the LOF website at least 3 or 4 times and decided to jump in with the elementary series for my 9 year old and Fractions and Decimals for my 12 year old.
We have been at it for almost 8 weeks now. Daily, I hear giggles during math time. Fred is discussed at random moments throughout the day. My husband loves reading these books too (he's a self-professed "math geek"). I even caught my 16 year old step son (in advanced math in public school) snatching Decimals to read for pleasure. I love that they are understanding concepts that I never quite grasped. I am thrilled that I am reading along and finding new understanding in concepts I always just figured my brain couldn't handle.
I have added some online math games to go along with Life of Fred for fun practice. We also review multiplication and division facts.
We started low in the series to make sure of a good math foundation, so we are moving along at a quick pace. I expect to slow down as we advance through the higher levels.
I am quite pleased with this curriculum.
- Reviewed on Monday, August 13, 2012
- Grades Used: K-6
- Dates used: 2011-2012
During this last year we have used Life of Fred as a fun supplement to Math. it's a Math series that is based around the unique life of Fred. It's very entertaining and definitely educational.
We have all the books in the series, but at this time we haven't ventured into the higher level ones. We are still reading through the elementary-level.
There is a controversy about the Life of Fred Dogs book. That book now comes with a sticker on the back that states how the shelter received extra funding, and all the animals will be able to stay there until adopted. In the end, there is a happy ending.
For us, the elementary books are a great supplement and a fun way to break-up routine Math. In the higher levels, it may work as a stand-alone for us. If it doesn't and remains a supplement, I will be fine with that. The children (and I) really enjoy it.